The business of booze
Liquor Licensing Board eyes applications

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 11/99) - Just hours after receiving their orientation and mandate as an agency last week, the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board got down to business.

And their first order of business was a contentious one.

"We considered a liquor board licensing application for the Uvagut Bar," said Goo Arlooktoo, the chair of the body that's responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Nunavut Liquor Act.

Submitted by a group of Iqaluit residents earlier this fall, the application ran into a roadblock when the municipal council passed a resolution to actively lobby against the issuing of any new liquor licences to bars for the next five years. Councillors said the time period would give the town the much-needed time it required to beef up its social services and alcohol treatment programs.

In order not to prejudge the application, Arlooktoo said the board decided to avoid reviewing its merit for the time being and simply pushed it on to the next step, which requires Uvagut to publish its intention to open an establishment in the local newspapers.

"The idea there is if we receive objections we will hold public meetings," said Arlooktoo.

Due to the amount of controversy already surrounding the application, the chair said the board fully anticipated that they would hear objections and had already tentatively scheduled public hearings to take place during the second week of November.

Arlooktoo said the public forum would provide both those in favour and opposed with a venue to express their views. The board will listen to the evidence presented and will then make an in-camera decision within 10 days concerning the granting of the licence.

Arlooktoo also said the board covered other areas of their mandate including how to review the current Nunavut Liquor Act over the course of the winter and what to do concerning new liquor import fees imposed on Nunavummiut since April 1.